The masses are crazy about exercising. Some cycle, some jog, some go to the gym, some do yoga and there are others who practise Qigong exercise. Why is Qigong exercise effective? Which type of Qigong exercise is suitable for everyone to practise? What are the benefits of practising Qigong exercise?
Wellness expert Bai Yin has been promoting Qigong for 30 years. She is of the opinion that the best form of exercise is one that can be practised every day, not restricted by time constraints, proper venue, weather or other external factors. The best place to exercise should be either our home or office, as these are the places that we spend most of our time. Which type of exercise fits these requirements? The answer is ‘Qigong’. All that is needed is a space large enough to stand on both legs to perform the Qigong exercise. This is the 1st advantage of Qigong, which ‘can be practised by everyone, and can be practised daily as part our regular lifestyle’.
The 2nd advantage of Qigong is there is no age restriction.
It is suitable for men and women, young and old. Many exercises have restrictions or prohibitions; eg injuries to bones or joints, prior injuries, too young or too old, having heart problems, unsuitable constitution or physique, etc. Qigong is a form of exercise with slow movements that is suitable for all ages, physical body conditions and constitutions, and exerts no burden onto the body and meets the requirements of an exercise that can be done safely.
The 3rd advantage of Qigong is that it helps the body to relax. Bai Yin explains that unlike other exercises, Qigong does not emphasise on the change in cardiopulmonary functions, nor aim towards achieving a heartbeat rate of 130. The greater emphasis is on relaxing the body. Taking into consideration modern lifestyle and stress index, the ability to relax the body is the better form of exercise.
Bai Yin gives an example – In the Hsinchu Science Park, where there are many Science & Technology companies, about 10,000 people practise Qigong. Some of these organisations have Qigong practice sessions during the afternoon break. A number of these people already have the habit of exercising. Some play ball games, others do intense aerobic exercises. When they had practised Qigong during their noon breaks for a period of time, they discovered that Qigong is different from other forms of exercise.
After a ball game or a session of intensive aerobics, especially in the afternoon, they experienced marked erratic fluctuations in energy level. Immediately after exercising, their energy levels would be good, but they would tire quickly with fatigue setting within a couple of hours. After doing Qigong, their energy levels remain stable, which last until the end of the day without feeling fatigued.
Bai Yin analyses that the root of the issue is that Qigong does not focus on increasing cardio-pulmonary functions. Conversely, it emphasises on relaxing the body. Many experience slower heartbeat rates after practising Qigong, their breathing slows down, thus achieving the state of relaxation. In this hectic modern living, slow-moving exercises help to release tension and stress.
The 4th advantage of Qigong is that it “reduces negative energy”. Bai Yin explains that in practising Qigong, besides external body movements, the heart and mind activities are also enhanced. The Qigong technique that she promotes complements exercise with mantras and intentions. When the heart and mind are focused on the mantras and intentions, the brain frequent produces alpha waves, which promote a state of calmness and happiness, which in turn helps reduce negative energies. This is a simple yet effective way to achieve equilibrium.
There are a lot of benefits in practising Qigong. One need not forego one’s normal exercise in favour of practising Qigong. In fact, Qigong and the normal exercise can be practiced concurrently. It is ideal when one form is done in the morning and the other in the evening.
Bai Yin says that Qigong can be practised first thing in the morning when the body has not fully awakened, to regulate breathing and to stretch the limbs, paying particular attention to the extremities. This will stimulate the cells in the body, resulting in you being fresh and alert to go to work, and not feel lethargic. Intense exercises are not suitable to be done in the evening, so as not to disrupt the normal body functions. Slow and gentle exercises are suitable to be done in the evening. Qigong is one such type of exercise.
Most people have time only in the mornings or evenings. Hence, you should choose an exercise that is suitable to be done in the mornings and evenings. Qigong fits the bill. Bai Yin shares a Qigong exercise that can be practised daily, both in the morning and evening: “Sea Swaying Technique”.
“Sea Swaying Technique” practiced in the morning catches the right timing for the opening of the Gateway to the Land (“di hu”), and also for defecation through the anus (“gang men”). The sleeping patterns of many people are in disarray, sleeping late and getting up late, resulting in a person n
ot being fully awake, his large intestines not fully awakened, his biological clock not synchronised. However, when he starts to do “sea swaying”, it helps to regulate the biological timing of the “di hu” and resets it to its opening and closing state, thus assisting with defecation.
Morning is the best time of the day for defecation, to get rid of solid body waste from the day before, and to start the day afresh. Once the body has emptied out its defecation, breakfast tastes more delicious, as the body signals its need to supplements its nutrients. Having a meal at this time is for eating better and improved digestion, having defecated earlier, regardless of absorption, breaking down of food, or secretion of stomach acid.
The biggest benefit of practising “Sea Swaying Technique” at night is to relax the waist. Recently in Japan, the most popular theory is that the lumbar vertebrae being askew is the cause of poor sleep quality. “Sea Swaying Technique” is divided into two parts — anti-clockwise and clockwise directions. After “swaying”, minor misalignments of the lumbar spine caused by poor sitting and standing postures, too much walking and exerting too much force while walking, will be corrected. Sleep quality will improve, too.
It is a simple Qigong exercise, with no expense involved, and needing only a small space. Swaying for only a few minutes in the morning and at night is an easy way to maintain your health.
- SEA SWAYING TECHNIQUE
- Sit relaxed on the floor, chair or bed. Rest your hands on your knees, with thumbs pressing lightly on your “xue hai” acupoints at the interior of your knees. Rest your other fingers on your knees.
- Bend your body forward slowly, making sure your buttocks remain in contact with the surface. Do not lift your body.
- With your body bent forward, move slowly in a circular motion anti-clockwise, using your “hui ying” acupoint at your buttock area as the pivot point of contact with the surface.
- After swaying in a circular motion 9 times anti-clockwise, repeat 9 times clockwise. When the circle is drawn to the back, tuck in your abdomen as much as possible and do likewise with your chin.
5. Finally, return your body to the upright sitting position and take a few deep breaths.